Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Big Data in Political Campaigns

With Election Day right around the corner, the article, “Big Data Hits The Campaign Trail” caught my eye immediately. John Markman’s article discusses the various uses of Big Data within the 2016 presidential election. While it is evident that an abundance of data has been collected that has enabled analysts to discover which candidate is holding the current lead and which candidate is predicted to win, a strategy director within the Republic National Committee generated a software model that allows voters and campaign staff to see by exactly how much a candidate is leading. More specifically, on October 10, 2016 Adrian Gray’s software model illustrated that Hillary Clinton was likely to carry 232 districts, including 47 seats currently held by Republics (Forbes). The idea that a computer or model can determine the exact amount of districts a candidate can win is extremely interesting to me. As we have learned in class, every piece of data has its own value/use with a corresponding cost to store that data. In regards to the 2016 presidential election, it makes me wonder what the cost is to mine all of the incoming data, along with the cost to store all of that data. In addition to Gray’s software model, Markman also discusses the use of Deep Root Analytics within the campaign trail. According to the DRA website, the mission of Deep Root Analytics is to offer a data management platform to maximize the efficiency of a campaign’s TV strategy on their targeted audience. Markman argues that the DR operation has grown exponentially, allowing voters and candidates to forecast the future. This notion of “predicting the future” raises extreme security flags. Some of the security issues involved include the exposure of an individual’s confidential vote, as well as the idea of tampering of votes. According to USA Today, cyber security officials are on high alert on Election Day to determine any indication of electronic tampering within the electoral process. Overall, the use of Big Data in the presidential election is extremely beneficial to candidates because it allows them to enhance their media strategies to target their intended audience and most importantly, determine who is in the lead. While none of the data collected is 100% reliable, the involved candidates are able to get a sense of what is happening in the voting polls so nothing comes as a complete surprise. Additionally, the candidates have the ability to alter their campaign strategies before the campaign is over and it is too late. In my opinion, although a lot of money already goes into the campaign process, I believe it is extremely valuable for candidates to invest in Big Data analytics to enhance their political campaigns. To further this, in a video I found titled “Big Data on Politics with Barack Obama,” the narrator discusses how Barack Obama’s campaign staff reviewed data from the 2008 campaign to collect patterns about the individuals who supported Obama to create a “bigger voter turn out” for the re-election in 2012. Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmarkman/2016/10/27/big-data-hits-the-campaign-trail/#1f302f671e51

1 comment:

  1. I found this article to be interesting after the results of the 2016 Election. With most data predicting Hilary Clinton to win the election it sent shock across the country when that was not true. Many believe that there was an error in the data collected and this is because of the electoral college. In my Researching Marketing class we had a long discussion about the results of the election and its affect on the data that was collected before. We talked about the problem of social desirability on the surveys conducted. Social desirability is when respondents are more inclined to answer a question in a way that is viewed for favorably by others. It is believed may have answered that they would prefer Hilary because they were afraid of the judgements of others by saying Trump. This is the perfect example of how Social desirability can skewed big data.
    I also think that the use of Big Data in the 2016 election was very beneficial on the campaign trail. I agree with Brianna in how beneficial this data can be to enhance their individual campaigns. The candidates were able to see which state was seen to be more republican or democrat and campaign more in those states. In another article I read it said that the Trump campaign paid nearly $5 million to a British firm to help target voters better through big data. This shows how important big data is to the campaign trail. Surprisingly even the sues of gym memberships, clubs and loyalty cars can help in given a better insight to their political party. This can also be used to help in persuading someone to change political parties. To me it is shocking how one gym membership can be used on the campaign trail.


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